Kevin Correia Rumors

Quick Hits: Trade Targets, Marlins, Garcia

The Independence Day trade that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics is definitely the top story of the day. When we polled MLBTR readers last week over which pitcher would be traded first, Hammel was the resounding top choice with 31.05% of readers picking the right-hander. Samardzija came in third with 16.19% of the vote. David Price (24.07%) was the only other pitcher to finish with over 10% of the vote, and it very well could have been Price headed to Oakland. Let’s focus our attention on some of the other rumors and notes of the day.

  • Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports the Tigers are interested in re-acquiring Joaquin Benoit (via Twitter). Of course, Benoit is in the midst of a fantastic season with the Padres. He’s pitched to a 1.26 ERA with 10.09 K/9 and 1.77 BB/9.
  • The Angels are also interested in Benoit according to Morosi (Twitter). It’s unclear if that interest remains after the acquisitions of Jason Grilli and Joe Thatcher.
  • Morosi (also on Twitter) notes that the Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Giants are interested in Diamondbacks infielders. Veterans Aaron Hill and Martin Prado have been frequently connected to rumors, although the club does have additional shortstop depth too.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com writes that the Twins are expected to make Josh Willingham and Kevin Correia available barring a sudden turnaround. Both players will be free agents after the season and aren’t good candidates for a qualifying offer. Willingham has been productive when healthy including a .228/.377/.441 batting line in 162 plate appearances this season. Heyman mentions the Red Sox and Mariners as two clubs in need of offense. To me, Correia looks more like a roster patch for a contender with his 4.95 ERA and 4.11 FIP.
  • The Marlins made a club record number of moves in June writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. A total of 45 transactions were made in June. The previous one-month record was 30 moves. July could bring more of the same for the Fish with Tom Koehler and Adeiny Hechavarria scheduled to return soon.
  • Oft-injured Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia will undergo season ending surgery to address his thoracic outlet syndrome according to Derrick Goold and Joe Trezza of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The club wasn’t counting on a return by Garcia, who has been on the disabled list since late June. The news provides additional incentive for the club to explore the trade market.

AL Notes: Fister Trade, Jimenez, Hardy, Correia

Dave Cameron of Fangraphs has ranked the ten best and worst transactions of the offseason. The number one spot on both lists goes to the trade that sent Doug Fister to the Nationals and returned Robbie Ray, Steve Lombardozzi, and Ian Krol to the Tigers. Cameron argues that the deal is "the most lopsided trade we've seen in years," and notes that many observers are at a loss to understand it from Detroit's perspective. While the return for Fister certainly seems light, I tried to make some sense of the swap back in December, writing that the deal was a part (albeit a questionable one) of a massive overhaul of the club's future commitments that saved as much as $150MM in down-the-line salary while maintaining most of its present on-field quality.

  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski endeavored to explain the trade from his perspective in an interesting interview with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. He made clear that the team decided to deal one of its veterans for a good, young arm. "You can see that young pitching right now is very difficult to acquire," said Dombrowski. "We had a list of about 15 pitchers that we would consider in various deals. [Ray] was one of the 15. The other 14 people said no. And [the Nationals] said no at first." Nationals GM Mike Rizzo confirmed that the club was hesitant to part with Ray, even with Fister being dangled, saying that was "why the trade took 2 1/2 weeks to consummate."
  • Dombrowski rejected the claims made by other executives that they had not known of Fister's availability, saying instead that he encountered a hesitant market. "That couldn't be further from the truth," he said. "We had our list of around 15 guys. We went to every one of those clubs: 'Would you trade this guy? Would you trade that guy?' And none of them would trade one." When the deal started to take shape, Dombrowski said he decided to grab Ray while he could. "We thought: Do we make this deal now, which we like? Or do we wait and see what else becomes available? But then does Washington do something else? Does [the trade] end up not taking place?" As I wrote at the time, the timing of things seemed to play an important role in how the deal came together; indeed, the Tigers went on to sign Joe Nathan the very next day, adding a two-year commitment at slightly more than Fister figures to earn in that stretch.
  • The groundwork for the Orioles' signing of Ubaldo Jimenez was laid at the Winter Meetings when the starter and his agent met with new pitching coach Dave Wallace, executive VP Dan Duquette, and others, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun"Right there, I knew," said Jimenez. "They're really humble, really down-to-earth guys, and I knew it was going to be special to be in this organization. RIght there, I was like, 'Pretty much, this is the team I want to be with.' It's going to be a big part of my future for me and my family. The city is great and they have a competitive team. Those guys in the clubhouse look like they are great guys." Jimenez backed up his expressions of commitment by revealing that he would move his whole family — including his parents and sister — to Baltimore, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
  • Though he is heartened by the club's moves and remains happy in Baltimore, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy says that he has heard nothing about an extension beyond what has been reported publicly, writes Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore"Even after FanFest, I thought something was going to happen right away because I think you guys were asking Dan [Duquette]," said Hardy. "He came up to me and said something about how we're going to start talking extension, but really nothing has happened. I don't know. Maybe they were waiting to do some of these other moves or something." Hardy, who could test the market next year, says that he is still interested in a new deal: "If they come to me with an extension, we'll definitely be open with trying to work that out."
  • Meanwhile, righty Kevin Correia of the Twins says that he would be interested in continuing to pitch in Minnesota when his two-year, $10MM deal expires after the season, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. But, said Correia, he has not had any talks about an extension to date. "They had a pretty busy offseason with the pitching staff, so we haven't really talked," he said. "I enjoy playing here. We talked to the effect of how my experience was here, how I enjoyed the team and the coaching staff and everything, but that's about as far as we've gotten." Correia, 33, does not offer much upside but delivered solid results for the Twins last year, logging 185 1/3 innings of 4.18 ERA ball. Of course, as Berardino notes, with three new starters under contract and several prospect arms expected to reach the bigs in short order, the veteran may not fit into the club's plans after this year and could become a mid-season trade piece.

Heyman Talks Twins Trade Chips

While earlier reports have said that the Twins are likely to trade longtime first baseman Justin Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP isn't drawing significant interest, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Multiple teams that make sense as landing spots are "cool to the idea" at this time, Heyman writes.

The Rangers and Yankees prefer to focus their efforts on acquiring right-handed bats. The Orioles could use an extra bat, but they don't want to pay the $6MM remaining on the final year of Morneau's six-year, $80MM contract. ESPN's Jim Bowden recently connected the Rays and Pirates to Morneau, but Heyman says the Pirates "aren't heavily involved yet," and the financial element is a deterrent to the Rays as well.

Twins-connected sources tell Heyman there's almost no chance that Josh Willingham will be dealt, and closer Glen Perkins is likely to stay as well. The southpaw told Heyman over the All-Star break: "I'd love to be part of the future. And from what I gather, [the Twins] feel the same." Even Kevin Correia, halfway through the first season of a two-year, $10MM deal, doesn't sound likely to be dealt at this time, according to Heyman's contacts.



Terry Ryan On Gardenhire, Diaz, Buxton, Correia

In a wide-ranging interview with 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson, Twins GM Terry Ryan talked about a team that is currently "going in the wrong direction." Here are some of the most notable points covered:

  • At the halfway point, Ryan acknowledged that his team is "struggling." Ryan declined to place the blame at the feet of manager Ron Gardenhire, saying that "I just now need to get him players he can succeed with." Ryan said that he "take[s] the responsibility" for the team's record. "I put this roster together. I've told Gardy to do the best he can. I understand that I don't have a perfect roster here."
  • When asked whether the team's deal with Dominican outfielder Lewin Diaz was Minnesota's big international deal, Ryan said no. The team "still ha[s] dollars left" and is "still pursuing other guys." 
  • Ryan indicated that he is impressed with top prospect Byron Buxton for more reasons than his incredible tools and statistics. "He's done a good job and he's made up right," said Ryan, referring to Buxton. "He's a good teammate. He's approachable. There's a lot of humbleness in him. He was raised right by his parents."
  • Discussing trades, Ryan says that the general manager is "not going to win no matter what you do," though he insists that he is not bothered by criticism. Several moves that the Twins have faced questions over include not trading Josh Willingham before last year's trade deadline ("If I had traded him, I would've been hammered. Not trading him, I'll get hammered.") and shipping out center fielders Denard Span and Ben Revere this past offseason ("We made a bold move. We need pitching. People were comfortable with Benny and Denard."). 
  • One Ryan decision that has received criticism was the two-year, $10MM deal given starter Kevin Correia. With Correia pitching well enough to be a trade target, Ryan says he "never thought it was the wrong decision" because "our people were adamant that he'd be okay. … We got him for what we thought was right. He has fit in here. He's given us what we thought he could do."
  • Looking at this year's trade deadline, Ryan acknowledged that the team's current 10-game road "will be a good indicator whether we're a team that will be competitive." Minnesota kicked things off with a dispiriting 4-0 loss to Mark Buehrle and the Blue Jays last night, and is expected to be a seller.

Central Notes: Gallardo, Twins, White Sox

The Royals made this a special Father's Day for 21 dads as the team invited the players' fathers to travel with them on their current road trip to Tampa and Cleveland. Dick Kaegel of MLB.com reports the idea was the brainstorm of the Royals' senior director of travel Jeff Davenport, who borrowed the idea from NHL teams, and was approved quickly by GM Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost. The idea came as a shock to some of the dads including the father of infielder Elliot Johnson, Robert. "Elliot told me about it and I had to call him back three times to make sure I got this story right — I said, 'You've got to be kidding me. All I have to do is get to Kansas City and they're going to put me on a plane and fly me along with you and not charge me anything? And I'm going to get in a hotel and eat with you guys and hang out with you?" The trip hasn't been without incident. Robert Johnson admitted he had an argument with Hall of Famer and new Royals batting coach George Brett over – what else – Elliot's hitting. In other news and notes from MLB's Central divisions: 

  • After struggling for most of the season, Yovani Gallardo has now tossed 14 consecutive scoreless innings. With the Brewers in last place and Gallardo controlled affordably through 2015 ($11.25MM in 2014 and a 2015 club option worth $13MM), the right-hander's name has popped up as a trade candidate (including by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes two weeks ago) and he has heard the talk. "We'll see what happens," Gallardo told reporters including MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. "It's definitely a little bit different. It's the first time I've been in a situation like this — not to say that anything is going to happen." McCalvy reports Gallardo can block trades to ten teams, but Gallardo acknowledges even he doesn't know the identity of all of them. 
  • While the Brewers don't anticipate Corey Hart returning from offseason knee surgery until after the All-Star break, at the earliest, GM Doug Melvin will not rush first base prospect Hunter Morris to the Majors, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Melvin told Haudricourt service time considerations aren't part of the decision-making process, "He needs to play more at Triple-A. We just want to make sure he's ready before making a move like that." The Brewers entered the weekend last in the NL at first base with a .493 OPS and 14th with four home runs and a .275 slugging percentage.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan told Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau, and Kevin Correia will be the most asked about players as the Trade Deadline approaches (Twitter link).
  • Twins closer Glen Perkins will also be sought after by teams looking to bolster their bullpen, including the division rival Tigers. Ryan, however, told Bowden he has not had any conversations with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and would rather have Perkins pitch for him than against him (Twitter link).
  • Yesterday, the White Sox announced the signing of seventh-round draft choice Trey Michalczewski. Today, Jim Callis of Baseball America tweeted the prep third baseman will receive a $500K bonus, which is $323.4K above the recommended slot (per Baseball America). 

Rockies Links: Correia, Karstens, Cuddyer

Troy Renck of the Denver Post shared some Rockies items on his Twitter feed earlier today, here are the hot stove-related tweets…

  • The Rockies kept an "ongoing dialogue" with Kevin Correia's representatives but didn't come close to the two-year, $10MM deal that Correia signed with the Twins earlier today.
  • The Rockies have a "mild interest" in right-hander Jeff Karstens, who was non-tendered by the Pirates last month.  Karstens posted a 3.97 ERA and 4.4 K/BB ratio in 90 2/3 innings for Pittsburgh in 2012, though he spent significant time on the DL and was projected to earn $3.8MM through arbitration according to MLBTR's Matt Swartz.
  • From that same tweet, Renck feels that if the Rockies make a big move for pitching, it will be through a trade and not the free agent market.
  • Michael Cuddyer hasn't drawn much trade interest, though Renck says the Rockies aren't particularly interested in dealing him anyway.

Twins Sign Kevin Correia

The Twins announced that they have signed Kevin Correia to a two-year, $10MM contract. The right-hander will earn $4.5MM in 2013 and $5.5MM in 2014, according to the Twins.

Correia

The 32-year-old Lapa & Leventhal client spent last season with the Pirates where he pitched to a 4.21 ERA in 171 innings with a 4.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and strong 51.2 percent ground-ball rate. He'll join Vance Worley and Scott Diamond in a Twins rotation that will also likely include 2009 first-rounder and eventual Tommy John victim Kyle Gibson.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan has emphasized starting pitching all offseason. He's already traded Denard Span and Ben Revere in order to acquire Worley and a pair of high-upside arms in Alex Meyer and Trevor May. With uncertainty still in the 2013 starting rotation and money to spend, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Twins pursue additional help via free agency.

Correia's two-year deal is similar to the two-year, $8MM pact he signed with the Pirates two years ago. A fourth-round selection of the Giants in 2002, Correia has spent his entire career in the National League between the Giants, Padres and Pirates. In that time, he's compiled a 4.54 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 44.3 percent ground-ball rate in 1066 innings.

Correia reportedly received multiple multi-year offers, including one from Japan. In addition to the Twins, he was connected to the Royals and Orioles at the Winter Meetings last week.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported the agreement (on Twitter). ESPN's Jerry Crasnick first reported the value of the contract and that the sides were nearing a two-year deal. Photo courtesy of U.S. Presswire.


Twins, Correia Close To Two-Year Deal

The Twins are nearing a two-year deal with right-hander Kevin Correia, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).

This post was originally published on Dec. 10 at 9:35pm.


Free Agent Notes: Greinke, Correia, Downs

Club officials and agents continue to wait for Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton to come off the board so that the other dominoes can fall, Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) writes.  Olney looks at the scenarios that could unfold from there and notes that the Dodgers should make a strong play for Anibal Sanchez or Kyle Lohse or Edwin Jackson if Greinke lands in Texas.  Here's today's batch of free agent notes..

  • Kevin Correia is mulling multiple multi-year offers, including one from Japan, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).  Earlier today we learned that the Royals are looking at Correia as a potential plan B if they fail to land a No. 1 starter.
  • Free agent infielder Matt Downs is getting interest from Phillies, Marlins, and Rockies, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (via Twitter).  Downs posted a .202/.253/.371 batting line in 191 plate appearances last season, down from the .276/.347/.518 line he posted in his first full season with the Astros.
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) that he has noticed in the last few days agents asking for higher signing bonuses in anticipation of the new tax rate.

Latest On The Royals

The latest on the Royals, who continue to seek a front-rotation starting pitcher…

  • The Royals are exploring a group of free agent starters that includes Brett Myers, Kevin Correia, and Jair Jurrjens, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, which could be a backup plan if they fail to acquire a No. 1.  Dutton has heard differently, saying he's been told the Royals have no intention for now of pursuing any pitcher who wouldn't front their rotation.
  • The Royals' payroll pinch is tighter than initially believed, explains Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.  In fact, the team appears to already be over budget.  Regarding the Shields talks, a Royals official told Dutton, "It’s not like we’re going to bend over backward,” one club official said. “We’re not going to do that. We want to make a trade to get another starter, be it Shields or someone else, but we don’t feel we have to make a trade."  The Rays are likely to wait to move Shields until Zack Greinke signs, writes Dutton.

Earlier updates: